What is juicing and is juicing healthy?
Well, it depends.
Despite popular opinion, fruit juice is actually quite unhealthy. A glass of orange juice might as well be soda if you ask me, as it’s simply all the sugar and none of the fibrous nutrients from the orange. Sure it may be a good source of vitamin C, but the high sugar content cancels out most of the benefits fruit juice has to offer.
To clarify, the orange, or any fruit, is not what’s bad, it’s the juicing process that makes it unhealthy. Most fruit juices sold on shelves today have added sugars, but even if they contained 100% natural fruit juice, you’re still missing the most important part of the fruit, the fiber!
Juicing is viewed as a staple in any healthy lifestyle, but is it really healthy for you? Let’s take a look at what science says about juicing.
What is Juicing?
Juicing is the process of using typically a machine to remove the liquid from fruits and vegetables. Juicing is generally used to supplement your diet and/or used as a cleanse, or detox. Drinking the vitamins and minerals from a variety of fruits and veggies is convenient and easy, but this doesn’t mean drinking fruit juices every day is healthy. Truth is drinking juice daily could actually be sabotaging your weight loss goals.
Here’s the thing, if you’re juicing with mostly vegetables and other food items low on the glycemic index (used to measure how foods affect blood sugar), then go for it, as this is a way to consume healthy ingredients that you wouldn’t normally get in your diet, like ginger, beets, and horseradish root. If you’re using juicing to supplement your already existing healthy diet filled with nutritiously dense foods, then this is a great way to get in some extra vitamins and minerals. However, juicing should not be seen as a “detox” or weight loss plan and I’ll explain why below.
Juice is filled with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but it’s missing one major thing: FIBER.
Why is fiber important?
Fiber fills you up, keeps you fuller longer, and also blocks some of the carbohydrates from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Without fiber, you’re left with a sweet juice that is absorbed rapidly into your bloodstream. Even natural sugars can spike blood glucose levels and release the flood gates for insulin. Insulin is the hormone that lowers blood sugar levels, but it also tells your body to store more fat. Consuming fruit juice without fiber leads to higher insulin levels and more fat storage.
Removing the pulp, seeds, and other solid elements of the fruit or veggie is like throwing money down the drain if you ask me. Juicing leaves out the best part because, without fiber, higher insulin levels over time lead to disease.
Drinking Your Calories
Drinking your calories may seem like an easy and fast way to get in more nutrients, but it’s really only satisfying your thirst, not hunger. The human body starts digesting food through the chewing process. Consuming liquid calories without chewing doesn’t register the same intake of total calories consumed and you’re more likely to feel hungry sooner. Therefore, drinking your calories leads to increased hunger throughout the day and you’re more likely to consume extra calories, leading to weight gain.
You’re also typically multitasking while consuming your liquid meal and not aware of how much you’re actually drinking so you can end up consuming way more sugar than you should be having in your day.
Drinking sugar, especially without fiber, causes your liver to work overtime. Only the liver can metabolize fructose and once the liver is overworked, sugar can back up in this organ causing it to malfunction, leading to Fatty Liver Disease.
Juicing vs. Blending
Juicing may provide vitamins, minerals, and some antioxidants, but little fiber, fat, and protein. However, if you were to blend whole fruits and vegetables you’ll get more health benefits compared to juicing.
Blending the whole fruit or vegetable includes the skin, pulp, seeds, and all the fiber, which helps reduce sudden sugar spikes and frequent hunger signals. Blending offers a more diverse macronutrient profile and a higher level of phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are antioxidant compounds that help protect against chronic disease.
So, if you must drink your food, blending is a better option than juicing. However, liquid calories are still not the same as chewing whole foods therefore, it’s best just to eat the whole food.
Just Eat The Whole Thing
Studies show that the risk for Type 2 Diabetes increases from routine consumption of fruit juice, but report a reduced risk of diabetes with routine intake of whole fruits and veggies.
Benefits of juicing include a more concentrated source of nutrients and faster absorption, but little fiber and often just as much, if not more, sugar than a soda. Juicing should not relace meals nor should it be used for weight loss or as a detox cleanse. Your liver and kidneys can detox your body much better than any “detox or cleanse” on the market. Therefore, taking care of your liver by reducing sugar intake is the best way to improve liver function and detox your body naturally.
- Eat the whole fruit or vegetable in their natural form to gain all the benefits like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Blend instead – blending allows you to use the whole fruit/veggie, you can also add your own fiber supplement to the mix.
- If you’re gonna juice use mostly veggies – lower risk for blood sugar spikes.
- Limit premade juices – the food industry often uses added sugars to sweeten their juices.
Hope this helps with your health & wellness goals. If you’re looking to reduce your sugar intake check out How to Break Your Sugar Addiction and Common Foods with Hidden Sugars.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions without consulting your healthcare provider. Information used is based on experience and opinion, not 100% evidence. Always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Some links in this article may contain affiliate links.